Volvo C-70 Retractable Hardtop Convertible Roof Removal

SUBJECT: Volvo C-70 Retractable Hardtop Convertible Roof Removal TOPIC: Total Roof Removal Evolution: Retractable Hardtop Convertible OBJECTIVE: Rescue personnel shall develop a protocol for total roof removal involving a convertible with...


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SUBJECT: Volvo C-70 Retractable Hardtop Convertible Roof Removal

TOPIC: Total Roof Removal Evolution: Retractable Hardtop Convertible

OBJECTIVE: Rescue personnel shall develop a protocol for total roof removal involving a convertible with an automatically retractable hardtop roof.

TASK: The rescue team shall study the design and operation of a new model convertible with a retractable hardtop roof feature such as the Volvo C-70 and develop a plan of action for accomplishing total roof removal utilizing tools available within their organization.

As a result of a continuing research project involving new-model vehicles, a new challenge has arisen and a solution to that challenge has been developed. The challenge for rescue teams is the potential of having to deal with a convertible vehicle at a crash scene that has a retractable hardtop roof structure. Specifically, a unique twist to the common task of total roof removal is featured in this University of Extrication column. Total roof removal is somewhat different when the convertible has a retractable hardtop roof.

The vehicle that the research on this roof design was conducted on was a 2006 model-year Volvo C-70. This stylish vehicle is extremely well designed and a very safe, crashworthy automobile. The 2006 C-70 is a convertible, but when its hardtop roof is closed, it appears to be a car with a permanent roof structure. Its hardtop roof, however, is a multi-piece steel roof that is automatically removable. At the push of a button, the three metal sections of the roof fold and store themselves in the trunk when the owner wants to drive a convertible. When set as a full hardtop roof, the front section latches into the windshield header at two points and the middle and rear sections drop into place by a mechanical linkage action. The rear roof section also contains a tempered glass rear window.

An overview of the work conducted is depicted in the images that accompany this column. The bottom line and the new procedure learned regarding total roof removal of a retractable hardtop convertible roof is:

Attack the front roof section latches at the windshield header
Cut the C-pillar outer skin to expose the C-pillar roof section linkages
Pry/spread the roof section linkages up and apart from each other
Cut the individual linkage arms to remove all three sections of the roof

TASK: The rescue team shall study the design and operation of a new model convertible with a retractable hardtop roof feature (such as the Volvo C-70) and develop a plan of action for accomplishing total roof removal utilizing tools available within their organization.

Retractable Hardtops On the Market

In the U.S., the first car to have an automatic hardtop was the Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder, which sold in limited volume in 1995 and 1996. The 1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK car was the first successful hardtop convertible in the United States. Now, the convenience of an automatically retractable roof is gaining popularity as can be seen with this Volvo C-70 system.

Here's a list of cars sold in U.S. with retractable hardtop roofs:

Cadillac XLR (2004)
Chevrolet SSR (2003)
Ford Focus (2006)
Lexus SC 430 (2001)
Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class (1998)
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (2003)
Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder Mk.2 (1995-1996)
Mitsubishi Colt 2+2 (2006)
Pontiac G6 (2006)
Volkswagen Eos (2006)
Volvo C70 Mk.2 (2006)


RON MOORE, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a battalion chief and the training officer for the McKinney, TX, Fire Department. He also authors a monthly online article in the Firehouse.com "MembersZone" and serves as the Forum Moderator for the extrication section of the Firehouse.com website. Moore can be contacted directly at Rmoore@firehouse.com.